Since 2016, Oxford Pink Week has taken place every year during the last week of January. A student-run initiative supporting breast cancer charities, it raised over £25,000 in 2023 and is expected to do so again this year.
Special events were held from 28 January to 3 February with the aim of raising awareness for breast cancer. The President of Pink Week 2024, Sam McCarthy, told Cherwell: “Pink Week provides a perfect opportunity to educate within the University.” The 2024 committee took steps toward this goal by sharing informative resources on social media and planning various events, most notably the Pink Week Ball, which raised £13,966 last year.
This year the fundraising efforts will go toward five Oxford based and national charities: OUTpatients, Breast Cancer Now, Oxford Breast Buddy Group, Black Women Rising and CoppaFeel. These charities strive to reduce the risks of diagnoses as well as to advocate and support patients.
The Pink Week 2024 committee chose to support these charities in particular due to their work with specific groups, such as the LGBTQ+ and Black communities. Sam McCarthy told Cherwell: “it was very important to us that the charities did reflect a wide range of demographics and emphasise the notion that breast cancer doesn’t discriminate.”
The scope of events this Pink Week ranged from socials within colleges to university-wide activities. St. Hugh’s College and Hertford College, among many others, held formal dinners and Pink Week-themed bops. Many colleges also got involved with pub quizzes and bake sales.
Oxford Pink Week 2024 also organised numerous joint events with many University societies, including Oxford Feminist Society, Oxford Taylor Swift Society and ALTS Ice Hockey Club. Gaspard Rouffin, the head of events, noted: “It’s always a bit tricky to find venues willing to support a charity with a very low budget.” However, the events included “a comedy night with the Oxford Imps, a pyjama party with SwiftSoc, a survivor’s talk with the Women’s Campaign and, of course, Tuesgays.”
The 2024 committee hoped these events would be not only fun and accessible, but also impactful to raise awareness for breast cancer. Sam McCarthy emphasised to Cherwell: “Breast cancer is an issue that is close to home and it’s something that a lot of people are affected by.” Indeed, one in seven females in the UK is diagnosed with breast cancer and around 400 men die from the disease every year. Oxford Pink Week 2024 is thus an important initiative for many people, and the fundraising efforts are set to make a difference for a worthwhile cause.